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Mom's a preschool teacher. When she phones me our convos go like this: “Anja, ek wou –“ “KNIP NET DIE PRENTJIE UIT!” “-hoor hoe dit gaan?”

About 40 minutes ago from Anja van der Spuy's Twitter

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15 Jun

Mind The Gap: Dating Someone Older Than Me

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that there is another face on some of my photos. An attractive male face, to be exact. Because said male face is not on social media, I know that there’s been a lot of curiosity about how we met. So I decided to share the story with you.

Here you go.

Growing up, having a boyfriend was the very last of my priorities. I had a ‘serious’ boyfriend in high school and thereafter I pretty much flew solo.

In the past 5 years, I spent a lot of time answering questions like, “Why are you still single?” and “When are you getting a boyfriend?” To which I always replied, “Because I LOVE my own company.”

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It’s strange how people perceive being single as being sad. Once at a wedding celebration I got a pity pat on the back for being the only single one. Yet, in that same year I had bought my own car, got a promotion at work and moved into my own apartment.

People have different priorities in life, and the sooner you realise that – the happier you’ll be. Be happy for the girl who changed her Facebook relationship status to “Engaged”, but also for the one who is living her best life by herself.

giphy​In 2015, at the age of 24, I met the guy who finally made me want to change my single status. I had just moved into a studio flat, and the WI-FI I shared with my landlords next door was driving me nuts. (I take nothing more seriously than WI-FI.) After constantly annoying my landlords with “My Internet is off” messages – they sent the guy over who does their business’ Internet.

Let’s just say I am now connected to the Internet all the time.

Side note: I was the one who asked him out for a drink. We live in modern times, so if you think a guy is a Babesaurus Rex – don’t be skaam to let it be known.

What makes our relationship a bit different is that he is much older than me. Eleven years older, to be exact. It’s been very interesting to see the reactions this gets from people.

To us it really hasn’t made much of a difference. Most of the time I forget his age, and very rarely does it affect me. When he invited me on LinkedIn and I saw when he attended high school, I will admit I was mildly shocked. But so was he when he found out I never watched Masters of The Universe because it was released four years before my birth.

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Most people wonder how we manage our social situations. How do I cope with hanging out with people in their early to mid-thirties, and how does he feel about going to 25th birthday parties?

Well, I was 20 when I started working in advertising and I had to learn very quickly how to be around people from all ages. He runs his own business and has to deal with people from all kinds of backgrounds everyday.

These days it is very rare for people to only be exposed to people from their own age group. Therefore age really doesn’t matter in a social context anymore. Basically everyone I know has friends who are younger and older than them. So it’s really not a problem to either of us.

What about our parents? My mom always said I will end up with an older man, because I was born with an old soul. And his parents are just as supportive of our relationship. Even when in conversation everyone realises I wasn’t even alive in the 80s.

One thing I have had to learn to let go of; is the past. When you are with someone older than you, it’s pretty likely that they’ve had a longer dating history than you. I mean, while 8-year-old me was crying over Mufasa’s death, my boyfriend was entering his first year of college. So of course he’s dated more people than me.

But trust me on this: It’s not worth focusing on the past when the present is good.

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Of course we’re only human, so our relationship isn’t perfect. I’ve had to learn how to deal with him being late very often. By ‘very often’, I mean ALL THE TIME.

And he’s had to learn how to deal with the fact that I am perfect.

Just kidding.

He’s had to learn how to deal with the fact that I can be really moerig sometimes. It’s happened a few times now that I get so angry about something, that I can’t even speak English anymore and just switch over to Afrikaans mid-sentence.

And bless his soul, he’s also had to listen to plenty of rants about him not listening to me. (The irony isn’t lost on me.)

Speaking of having to listen to annoying things; he is the only person I know who sounds like he’s chewing with his mouth open even when it’s closed. I sometimes have to stare at his mouth while he’s eating to make sure that it’s actually closed. It always is. I don’t know how he does it.

I guess I find that almost as annoying as he finds the fact that I put my shoes on the bed all the time. My shoes are clean. I am cold. Why should I remove them?

But our personalities are so completely opposite that it actually works. He’s helped me to let go a little bit, and to be more relaxed about things. For instance, that sending my clothes to the laundromat doesn’t mean that everyone in the shop will stand in a circle and look at my underwear. (For a long time I was incapable of sending my clothes there for this exact reason.)

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And I have taught him to add a bit more structure to his life and to be more considerate of my time.

If life has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t plan when, or who, you fall in love with. It’s okay to be single – don’t feel pressured by social media/society/your nosy aunt to meet someone and get married.  Enjoy your time alone! And when you do meet someone who makes you happy, don’t question it just because it is unconventional. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it is not real.

So if you take anything from this article, I hope it is that you are allowed to feel happiness in the way that you choose.

And also that vampires exist, because I am dating one.

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Anja Wintour

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Hello! Thanks for checking my blog out - I like you already! If you want to suggest a topic, please drop me a mail on [email protected] Email address is PR-friendly too! Love, Anja

12 Comments
  • Merwe Moelich

    I can totally relate! My wife is 8 years younger than me. Her parents had a heart attack when they first heard how old I was, but this quickly blew over! I am going to her matric reunion this year as a 35 year old, and I am sure going to enjoy it.
    Enjoy you guys!

    June 15, 2016 at 10:26 am Reply
  • Robynne

    This is such a sweet post Anja 🙂 Yay for you and your loved up happy vibes 🙂

    June 15, 2016 at 11:24 am Reply
  • Melonie

    Anja, thank you for your amazing posts!! I dated a guy who was older than me, but he wasn’t looking for commitment. He pretty much loved the bachelor life and dated a lot of women. I prefer dating older guys and am looking for commitment. I know everyone is different, but do you feel, because your boyfriend is older, he’s ready to commit and settle down with you or do you think that guys who are older and have never settled down before, generally don’t plan on it? I meet a lot of those 🙁

    June 15, 2016 at 12:42 pm Reply
  • Taryn Bester

    Love this post and I share the same sentiments. My boyfriend and I are 9 years a part and I have experienced similar things to what you are saying. Thanks for sharing now I know I’m not the only crazy person alive. Lol

    June 15, 2016 at 1:13 pm Reply
  • Karlien Theart

    Ah hierdie is die blog post waarvoor ek al so lank wag – nie jou verhouding spesifiek nie (geluk btw!), maar die topic oor “Why single isn’t a/shouldn’t be a problem”

    June 15, 2016 at 2:59 pm Reply
  • Geenius

    I know a guy who is 16 years older than his girl and they are good together. Anyway I am so happy for you, love is beautiful.

    June 16, 2016 at 5:25 pm Reply
  • Anthea Booysen

    Lovely post! My husband is 10 years older and we’ve been together for 14 years this year. Age is just a number!

    I also did the asking out – we live in modern times after all!

    June 20, 2016 at 12:02 pm Reply
  • KateF

    I had to look at the photos a good few times because he seriously does not look a day over 28!

    My folks are 11 years apart (dad older than mom) and they have been married for 31 years so I totally agree and say age means absolutely nothing!! And hey, if you do marry this guy one day, he will always have the hotter younger wife 😉

    June 28, 2016 at 8:59 am Reply
  • Maria Santos

    It was so nice to read this. I am dating a man who is 15 years older than me, and it’s my first real relationship. AND he lives in another country, and has two kids from his first marriage (so it’s a long-distance relationship). My mother freaked out in the beginning, but after she met him, she and my father really liked him. I guess when things are meant to be, they find a way.

    September 1, 2017 at 3:22 pm Reply

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